No 10 hints work from home advice will be scrapped as PM urges people to 'think about returning'

Boris Johnson working from home
The prime minister wants people to return to work if their workplace has been made safe. Credit: PA

Number 10 has hinted that work from home advice will soon be scrapped in England after Boris Johnson urged people to consider returning.

Following comments from the prime minister that "people should start to think about getting back to work", his spokesman confirmed the guidance is "under review".

Mr Johnson said on Friday that people should go back to work provided it is safe, but confusingly the official government guidance remains "work from home if you can".

Downing Street said: “What the advice says is that employers should decide in consultation with their workers whether it is viable for them to continue working from home.

“Where it is decided that workers should come in to their place of work, then this will need to be reflected in the risk assessment and actions taken to manage to risk of transmission."

Asked whether the guidelines would be updated, the spokesman said: “The guidance we have is under review but it does say employers and employees should discuss and agree working arrangements to best suit the needs of the business.”

The clarification from the prime minister's spokesman came after Justice Secretary Robert Buckland caused confusion by telling ITV News "the guidance is work from home if you can" before moments later saying "the message is yes, come back to work".

Mr Johnson says he wants people to return to work "where businesses have made a huge effort to make the workplace safe".

“What I want to see is people, who have been working from home for a long time, now talking to their employers, talking to their places of work, about the steps that have been taken and looking to come back to work in a safe way,” the prime minister told reporters during a visit to the London Ambulance Service.

He added: "I do think people should start to think about getting back to work but provided we all continue to follow the precautions.”

Amid concerns about a surge in public transport usage, the PM's spokesman said: "I think the transport operators have been taking steps in recent weeks to increase the number of services they’re providing for their customers to make sure they can do this in a Covid-secure way."